Correctional Nursing-Last Stop For Nurses who can't make it anywhere else - page 5

I came to correctional nursing after 4 years of ER experience in a level 1 trauma center. I was burned-out and ready for a change. One of the first things I noticed hanging on the wall of the nurses... Read More

  1. by   renerian
    Wowowowow toughbug......I still say people who work in corrections are very brave!

  2. by   Orca

    It depends upon who you work for. I work for the Nevada Department of Corrections, and my pay compares favorably with area hospitals. In other states, it isn't so good. California in particular pays very well (I have seen some of their ads in the Las Vegas papers). As far as working conditions, I had rather be at the prison than the hospital hands down. We don't have the kind of staffing issues that hospitals have, and if I get sued, the attorney general represents me (that hasn't happened so far).

    Two of our prisons have contracts with private companies. One is for the medical area only, and the other prison is entirely privately run. Neither has made a profit, and both companies are on their way out. The state has already assumed control of the facility that was contracted for medical only, and we are in the process of taking over the private facility. What was happening was that the private companies wanted any inmates transferred out who might cost them money, so the state was absorbing the cost anyway to keep them profitable. The state was, in effect, subsidising the contractor. The entirely private facility has been a total fiasco (Corrections Corporation of America). They haven't been able to keep staff, and their record keeping has been atrocious, by all accounts (that is why many of the staff have left).
  3. by   MrsK1223
    I have recently applied for a job in a federal prison. I have been waiting for an opening for a long time to come along. I have worked on my KSA's for months. Keep your fingers crossed.
  4. by   Honda
    I chose to work corrections. I have been a nurse for 13 years. I came out of administration to work in corrections. Do I sound like a "bad nurse" Yeah right!
  5. by   smk4450
    From a Ex San Quentin Nurse- there are nurses working for the State to receive the Benes and do a poor job of Pt Care; handing a basin of wash water to a multi stabbing victim or refusing to wash the transfer inmate due to his nasty tirade against the system or the sad care of the paralyzed inmate. And the refusal of State Nurses of accepting normal standards of care " They are all gang members, etc!"
    There are tons of great Correctional Nurses working today; but, the many crappy nurses make it difficult to maintain standards of care as recognized and paid for by the Corrections Systems, Sh
  6. by   Crawsu
    OK, as in any profession, there are good and bad practioners. However, in corrections, as in any field of nursing, we are the patient's advocate. Doesn't matter what they did or anything else. You are there as the patient advocate. You learn to discern BS from true medical problems as much as is possible, you look for objective data, and try to do the best you can for your patient, no matter whether a scumbag or not. That's the job. We are not there to judge, we are there to treat medical problems. It all comes down to CYA, in the real world. It's not up to the nurse to make decisions as to treatment, but you are still obligated to treat all with no regard to what crime they are accused of, or how obnoxious or unpleasant that patient might be. Really not that much different than any other specialty, you are trying to do the best you can for that particular patient. Yea, he may be a child molester, murderer, whatever...we are there to tend to medical problems, not judge...if you can't handle that, then corrections is not your field. You must be able to build a rapport with the CO's, because they are there to protect you from the crazies and violent offenders. Once that is acheived, they will respect your requests and decisions, no matter whether the inmate is accused of an horrendous crime or not. It is a rewarding field, in that you are on the front lines and get a little bit of everything. I have found it to be a more collegial environment as most of our Docs value our assessments and will OK transport to ER on just your intuition that something is wrong. I really don't believe that "bad" nurses stay in the profession that long, because you will be sued or called to task for bad decisions. Believe me, most inmates get better health care than the public in general, simplly because of the threat of being sued, whether valid or not, many institutions settler out of court to avoid protracted, expensive court cases, and the inmates know that and take advantage of it.
  7. by   NurseAngie
    Originally posted by sjoe
    Reading the following book will help explain where much of this pointless negativity comes from, namely successful inmate manipulation of staff:
    "Games Criminals Play: How You Can Profit by Knowing Them
    by Bud Allen & Diana Bosta "
    I just finished reading this book (with the ugly yellow cover!) and it really opened my eyes. A must read for anyone working in corrections!

  8. by   tazpint
    What I love about nursing is there are so many areas to work in and experience. Everyone is not made for ER,OB,Surg, or Corrections. I belive it takes a special person to be able to handle the setting of prisons and jails and talented to know the BS the inmates try to pull on you. If you are a competent,no-nonsense nurse when dealing with them, they actually have more respect for you as a nurse. The person who had the problem working in a corrections setting is just not made for that environment and is using her comments as an excuse to leave. I love the setting myself, but I have decided to do travel nursing for a while and would like any help finding an agency who places nurses in the corrections settings. Thanks for any help!
  9. by   Aurora
    Supplemental out of NY or Fresno. I hear that Favorite Nurses has travel correctional. I am working locum tenens through NMR in San Clemente -- don't really like this arrangement, though.

    Supplemental -Fresno: 1-866-268-2411

    NMR-1-800-451-7811 x 119 Christy
  10. by   threepercenthero
    [font=Arial Black]what type of pay scale and benefits are there in federal correctional nursing?.
    Quote from toughbug
    I'm really sorry about your experience as a Correctional Nurse. My question is: were you employed by a county, state or federal facility? It makes a difference. I am employed by a federal prison. The work conditions in our medical department are more sanitary than a hospital's, the pay and benefits are a lot better, and the quality of healthcare professionals? Top notch. I work with highly educated, experienced health professionals. I worked as a Licensed Paramedic for four years, the ER as a RN for one year. I have two degrees. Working in a federal prison for over three years, I have to adhere to the state nurse practice act and federal regulations, policy and procedures. I went through an extensive background check. Had to train at a federal law enforcement academy for three weeks. I train once a year in self-defense and I have to qualify with a M-16 assault rifle, 9mm handgun, and a 12 gauge shotgun every year. I must know my job and the correctional officer's job. Our department has received a "superior rating" with Joint Commission the past three reviews. I can hold my own in the ER, on the ambulance or in prison. I'm sorry: the comment on the type of nurses that work there are greatly false. Those kind of nurses are everywhere. NOT just corrections. P.S. Orca hit the nail on the head.
  11. by   susan18
    Quote from sjoe
    Reading the following book will help explain where much of this pointless negativity comes from, namely successful inmate manipulation of staff:
    "Games Criminals Play: How You Can Profit by Knowing Them
    by Bud Allen & Diana Bosta "
    Reply to sjoe: That book is great! I recommend it to al my new hires as a nurse educator in a large state prison for women. We do have to remember where we work, and that this group is not your community hospital patient,at all!- susan18
    Last edit by susan18 on Mar 6, '04 : Reason: misspelled word
  12. by   susan18
    Quote from Orca
    A few.

    1. Don't believe everything you are told by an inmate about physical symptoms. Many will exaggerate their symptoms, or fabricate them entirely, just to get out of their cells or to get some extra attention. These guys aren't doing time for being honest and on-the-level. Your assessment skills will be put to maximum use sorting out the game-players from the legitimate issues.

    2. Unlearn much of what you have learned about the delivery of care. In this environment, the patient is expected to take a degree of responsibility. Run and fetch for them, as we are conditioned to do in hospitals, and they will have you tied in knots. Excessive attention marks you as a person easy to manipulate.

    3. Don't "bend the rules". While you don't have to be rigid and inflexible, being firm pays large dividends. You won't become compromised profesionally, and in their own convoluted way, inmates will respect you for it.

    4. Lighten the atmosphere with humor in appropriate spots. I have always used humor in my practice, and the environment these guys live in is serious enough on its own. I have defused a number of potentially tense situations with proper use of humor.

    5. Don't take everything inmates tell you about conflicts with staff literally. Inmates often try to cultivate a sympathetic ear by telling a drawn-out story about how they have been wronged or brutalized by a particular staff member. They are counting on your caring instincts, and your obligation as a patient advocate, to pull you to their side. This is how a lot of compromising situations start. Remember that they are inmates, and many are master manipulators. They are usually not telling the entire truth about such matters. Prison is a violent and serious environment, and conflicts must necessarily be dealt with swiftly by security staff. Force is often necessary to prevent harm to life and property.

    None of this is meant to scare you. It is a very different specialty from anything else I have done, and it is challenging. I often have to make calls on delivery of treatment based upon a conversation with someone with little or no medical knowledge, and I often have to make decisions without the benefit of a physician's input (although they are available if I need them). I have a lot of latitude in what I do, and hospitals just can't compete.

    Orca: Loved those tips. I agree completely. I try to help my new nurses at our state prison with sharing things like this. You couldn't have said it better! Thanks....
  13. by   tazpint
    Right on girl!!!